Rather often I am asked why I bother to write a rather large amount of Nengacho (年賀状) every year, especially as I send out Holiday Season cards too. The answer is rather simple: Personally I believe a Japanese New Years card in the Japanese culture has a deeper meaning. Sending out a Holiday Season card for me has the intention to show the recipient that I am thinking of them. Different then with a Nengacho I am not only pointing out that I am thinking of them, appreciate the relationship, further I am asking for their continued support. Although the original purpose was to send greetings to people, whom we might not meet so often, informing them that everyone is well and keeping them posted about the recent family news, still I believe it is worthwhile to send a Nengacho to close friends too. I believe it is never a bad idea to let others know how much they are appreciated and asking then at the same time for further patronage and blessing.
Do note that you should not to send a New Years card, when someone has died in the family during the year. For this case special morning postcards (喪中葉書, mochyuu hagaki) are available. These cards are sent out in time inform friends and relatives that they should not send New Year’s cards, out of respect for the deceased.
So that you can get ready for next year in time, note the typical phrases used in the Nengacho:
Happiness to you on the dawn of a New Year
I hope for your favour again in the coming year
Whether it is in business or for private purpose take this extra time to let others know that they are appreciated. Like this year’s Nengacho says, I cannot wait to catch up with you again, maybe in real life or then on this blog.
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